BWW Reviews: Actress/Singer Sandy Bainum Triumphantly Debuts at Sterling's

On Monday evening November 11 striking actress/singer Sandy Bainum presented a concert and launch party for her new CD Simply. This album, as well as her last one from 2012 One Christmas, were both produced by Bruce Kimmel's Kritzerland Records. It is difficult to think of Bainum simply. She is a tall, statuesque, elegant beauty who offers so much talent in a single breath.

Bainum started her early career on Broadway in 42nd Street, only to leave it behind for marriage and to raise a family. A member of the famed Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, she continues to apply her skills to multiple musical roles like Marion in The Music Man and Tesse Tura in Gypsy. It is to our advantage, for the lady has a gorgeous classically trained coloratura soprano voice that is suited to just about any style of singing. Her magnificent range allows her to sing all Broadway and pop standards with an unsurpassed clarity of diction and superb phrasing. Her concert was a real treat...and not only does she possess a smooth, silky voice but a warm, invigorating spirit that practically lifts you from your seat.

How does 'simply' apply? Well, according to her, 'simply' describes her overall personality, which has always been simplistic, meaning that she like things simple, uncomplicated. She is hardly extravagant, but a fully grounded, happy creature who longs consistently to share that feeling with everyone else. During the one-hour set backed by a six piece orchestra, Bainum simply glowed, giving off an aura of self-confidence and pure joy. Directed by Kimmel and with musical direction by six-time Emmy winner Lanny Meyers, the show heard the talents of Meyers at the piano; on drums, Ed Smith; on bass, John Belzeguy; on guitar, Tim May; on sax, Phil Feathers, and a special delight, a harp played angelically by Amy Wilkens. Bainum spoke lovingly of Kimmel and Meyers, citing that both men have given her their back for many years. Spontaneous and fun-loving, she left the stage in what seemed a purely unanticipated move to deliver "Don't Quit While You're Ahead" to motivate a bevy of individuals in the audience with her calm, cool... uninhibited determination.

Other highlights of the evening, all songs from the CD, included: the title song "Simply", a beautifully constructed ballad by Bruce Kimmel, "Cockeyed Optimist" from South Pacific, a lovely "Goodnight My Someone" from The Music Man, the gorgeous "On My Way to You" by Michel Legrand and Mailyn and Alan Bergman, a bouncy "Bluesette", Kander & Ebb's softly thrilling "Isn't This Better?' from Funny Lady and one of the most haunting arrangements of "Where or When" I have ever heard, penned also by Kimmel. Since Meyers is a great lover of jazz, Bainum paid him tribute with "Something to Sing About" with music by Dave Brubeck and lyrics by Garson Kanin. She closed with Kimmel's uniquely amusing "This Christmas" from her 2012 album. It was a smooth-flowing, very fast moving set thanks to the artistry of the 6 musicians, the wonderful material and especially due to the uber talent of Sandy Bainum and her impeccable voice. Thankfully, she will be in LA for the winter and hopes to return to Sterling's with another show in honor of the Gershwins. Brava!

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From This Author Don Grigware

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